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Kick Start Your New Year of Fitness

By Ty Vincent

Photos by Morgan Ayers

Those calorie-laden weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year can really take a toll on a waistline. Even for people who already work out regularly, trying to maintain a regular fitness routine over the holidays can be nearly impossible with the endless barrage of cocktail parties and trips out of town to visit family. But, once the sugar cookie and champagne high has worn off, many of us realize it’s time to get back into shape or, at least, back into a routine. Here, a few suggestions that I give my clients, to help get them started (and keep them motivated) losing those extra pounds of added holiday weight:

1. Set Goals -- Decide what you want from your fitness in the New Year. Are you trying to lose weight? Gain muscle? Look leaner? Become a faster runner? Making a list will help you visualize what you want to accomplish.

2. Be Realistic -- Don’t make your goals unattainable or impossible. Start out small. If your goal is to drop weight, don’t say you’re going to drop 25 lbs. in two weeks. Maybe set a goal of two to three pounds at first. Then, once you start seeing those results, increase those numbers, but be smart. The same goes if you’re trying to get stronger. Don’t say you’re going to bench 300 lbs. in four weeks if you can barely get 135 lbs. currently. Start small and build, otherwise you run the risk of getting discouraged and giving up all together. Set yourself up for success! Being unrealistic will only hinder your progress.

3. Plan Ahead -- Decide what will work best for you when it comes to working out. Would you benefit most from a gym membership? Do you need a trainer? Maybe at-home/outdoor workouts are best. Or, workouts done in a class-based setting like CrossFit, bootcamp, or spin. You may find it’s a combo of several. Everyone is different, so only you know what will work and if you are unsure, then try out a few. Just keep moving!

4. Keep Focused -- Don’t lose sight of your goals. There are going to be good days and bad days. Enjoy the good days, but also enjoy the bad ones. Learn from them and let them help you grow. Just remember why you started this journey.

5. Get a Workout Buddy -- Sharing this journey with someone makes it a lot easier. He can have his own goals, but working out together will give you both that extra push of accountability. Group fitness can be another great option. However, if you do end up going it alone, consider starting a journal or blog that chronicles your progress. Share it with the world and let your Facebook friends or Twitter followers be your partners in this all.

6. Track your progress -- Make sure you keep a journal, regardless of your progress, and be sure to include photos of yourself.

7. Don’t make excuses -- Stick to your plan. If you have a minor injury or feel sore on a particular part of your body, work out another area and rehab that sore spot (foam rollers and stretching are great for that). Of course, be smart about it, but don’t just stop working out all together. And, no one is too busy or doesn’t have enough time. If CEOs, single parents with two jobs, and heads-of-state can find time to workout, so can you. On an incredibly hectic day, fifteen minutes of exercise done in your living room is better than no exercise at all.

8. Eat Clean -- Easier said than done, but the way you eat accounts for about 80 percent of your transformation. That said, don’t try and change your food world all in one day. Start by eliminating (or at least cutting down on) foods that are not good for you. Give yourself a cheat day every once in a while, but don’t make everyday/meal a cheat meal.

9. Find your routine -- Decide what time of day works best for you to workout. If you’re a morning person, then hit the gym before work. It’s a great way to start the day. However, if you know you’re a night person, go after work. Or, you may have to go when your schedule allows. It could be mid-afternoon. Remember a workout only really accounts for 4 percent of your day -- no reason not to make it happen. Also, keep your workouts short -- no more than 60 minutes.

10. Keep Trying -- If you trip up along the way it’s all right. Don’t beat yourself up over it. This is a journey and it takes work (and, probably some trial and error). Just recommit and, maybe this time around, set the bar a little lower. Find your “new” realistic path. It’s a process, but one you can surely maintain!

Some Great Bodyweight Workouts to Get Started:
Here are a few great total-body workouts that you can do on your own, with no extra equipment, to help get you started. Remember to scale these accordingly. If you are brand new to working out, cut the reps in half and build. If you are returning to working out, take it slowly and don’t let your ego get in the way.

As you become more comfortable start setting a stop watch and challenge yourself to get it down faster each time.

Workout I
3 rounds of:
50 pushups
50 situps
50 air squats

Workout II
5 rounds of:
50 walking lunges
15 pushups
Workout III
7 rounds of:
35 air squats
25 pushups
15 pullups

Workout IV
21-15-9 reps* of:
lunges (Each leg counts as a 1/2 rep)

(* this is three rounds of exercises, doing 21 reps of each the first time, 15 the second and 9 the last.)


Workout I
20 rounds of:
5 pull ups
5 pushups
5 sit ups
5 squats

Workout II
Run 10 minutes at max effort
200 squats
Run 10 minutes at max effort

Workout III
Run 100m
20 pushups
5 burpees
15 clap pushups
5 burpees
10 chest slap pushups
5 burpees
5 fingertip pushups
Run 100m
15 pushups
5 burpees
10 clap pushups
5 burpees
10 chest slap pushups
5 burpees
5 fingertip pushups
Run 100m
10 pushups
5 burpees
10 clap pushups
5 burpees
10 chestslap pushups
5 burpees
5 fingertip pushups

Ty Vincent is owner of CrossFit Sunset (crossfitsunset.com) in Los Angeles and has lead fitness classes at the TED and TEDActive conferences.

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